BY THOMAS A KEMPIS
Nihil Obstat and Imprimatur, 1941
CHAPTER 3: THAT IT IS PROFITABLE TO
The Voice of the Disciple.
will be observed that portions of this chapter are applicable only to
BEHOLD, I come to Thee, O Lord, that, by Thy gift, it may be well
with me, and that I may be delighted in Thy holy banquet which Thou, O
God, hast prepared in sweetness for the poor.
Behold in Thee is all that I can or ought to desire; Thou art my
salvation and redemption, my hope and my strength, my honor and my
Make, therefore, the soul of Thy servant joyful this day, because unto
Thee, O Lord Jesus, have I lifted up my soul.
Now do I desire to receive Thee devoutly and reverently; I long to
bring Thee into my house, so that, with Zacheus, I may deserve to be
blessed by Thee, and to be numbered amongst the children of Abraham.
My soul longeth eagerly after Thy Body; my heart desireth to be united
2. Give Thyself to me, and it is enough; for without Thee no comfort is
of any avail.
Without Thee I cannot exist; and without Thy visitation I am unable to
Therefore must I often come to Thee, and receive Thee as the
medicine of my salvation, lest perhaps I faint in the way, should I be
deprived of this heavenly food.
For so Thou, O most merciful Jesus, when Thou hadst been preaching to
the people and curing their various maladies, didst once say: I will
not send them fasting to their home, lest they faint on the way.
Deal with me, therefore, in like manner, Who hast left Thyself in this
Sacrament for the comfort of the faithful.
For thou art the sweet refection of the soul, and he that shall eat
Thee worthily shall be partaker and heir of everlasting glory.
Necessary, indeed, is it for me, who so often fall and commit sin, so
quickly grow torpid and faint, that by frequent prayers and
Confessions, and by the sacred receiving of Thy Body, I may again be
renewed, cleansed, and inflamed, lest, perhaps, by longer abstaining, I
fall away from my holy purpose.
3. For prone are the senses of man to evil from his youth; and unless
the Divine medicine succor him, he quickly falleth to worse things.
The Holy Communion, therefore, withdraweth from evil, and strengtheneth
For if now I am so often negligent and lukewarm, whenever I communicate
or celebrate, what would it be if I did not take this remedy, and did
not seek so great a help?
And although I am not every day prepared, nor well disposed to
celebrate, yet I will endeavor at certain times to receive the Divine
mysteries, and to make myself partaker of so great a grace.
For this is the one chief consolation of a faithful soul, so long as
she sojourneth afar off from Thee in this mortal body, that, mindful of
her God, she receives her Beloved with a devout mind.
4. O wonderful condescension of Thine affection towards us! That Thou,
O Lord God, the Creator and Giver of life to all spirits, shouldst
vouchsafe to come to a poor soul, and with Thy whole Divinity and
humanity to feast her hunger with fatness.
O happy mind and blessed soul! Which deserveth to receive Thee, her
Lord God, devoutly, and in receiving Thee to be filled with spiritual
Oh, how great a Lord doth she entertain! how beloved a Guest doth she
bring into her house, how sweet a Companion doth she receive, how
faithful a Friend doth she welcome, how beautiful and noble a Spouse
doth she embrace, to be loved above all beloved, and beyond all that
can be desired.
Let Heaven and earth, O my most sweet Beloved, with all their attire,
be silent before Thy face; for whatever of glory or beauty they
possess, all is the gift of Thy bounty; nor can they attain to the
beauty of Thy Name Whose wisdom is beyond all numbers.
That we ought ardently to desire to receive the Holy Communion,
or at least be sensible of the need we have of it, and should
frequently receive it.
We have great reason to be humbled and confounded before our Lord Jesus
Christ, when we feel ourselves cold and indifferent in approaching to
Him, and are induced to receive Him in the Holy Communion only through
obedience, and not by the ardor of our desires. For how can we know
Thee, O Jesus, and not love Thee, and how can we love Thee and not
desire to receive Thee, and to be transformed into Thee, by worthily
and frequently receiving Thee in the Holy Communion? And yet, O God,
how often does insensibility towards Thee desolate my soul, and would
discourage me, were I not assured that, although I am deficient of that
love which I desire to have for Thee, which I cannot acquire of myself,
but which I ask of Thee, Thou wouldst still have me receive Thee
through obedience and with humility. What, O God, would become of me,
in the dryness which I experience, were I not assured that the great
miseries of my soul draw down Thy mercies upon me, and that Thy delight
is to dwell in a heart which, conscious of its own unworthiness, does
all in its power to prepare itself for Thee? In truth, the humble
acknowledgment of our unworthiness, after a Confession the most entire
of which a Christian is capable, supplies the place of ardent desires
for the Holy Communion; and we cannot either honor or please God more
than by debasing ourselves for His love before His sacred majesty. We
should not, therefore, abstain from the Holy Communion, because we feel
no devotion nor any desire of approaching; but we should communicate as
often as a wise and discreet director advises us, and receive Jesus
Christ in obedience to him at whose voice Jesus Himself descends upon
Is there anything more easy or more consoling, than to reflect, when we
are preparing ourselves in the best manner we are able for the Holy
Communion, that Jesus Christ has said that those who are well, need not
a physician, but only such as are sick.
PRAYER FOR A GOOD COMMUNION.
O JESUS! it is with full confidence in those words which Thou
speakest to me, and which I have just read, that I prepare myself to
receive Thee, not because I deserve such a favor, but because I have
need of Thee, and my soul cannot live without Thee. It is afflicted
with many maladies and infirmities which Thou alone, its sovereign and
charitable physician, canst heal. Come then, my Savior, and apply a
remedy to my wounds, heal the pride of my heart with Thy humility, and
consume all self-love with the fire of Thy Divine charity. Come and
invest me with Thy strength, that I may conquer my passions: animate me
with Thy spirit, that I may seek only to please Thee and live that
supernatural and Divine life which is characteristic of the life which
Thou livest, and which Thou bringest to me in the Holy Sacrament of the